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Spaceship Earth

Synopsis

In 1991, a group of countercultural visionaries built an enormous replica of earth’s ecosystem called Biosphere 2. When eight “biospherians” lived sealed inside, they faced ecological calamities and cult accusations. Their epic adventure is a cautionary tale but also a testament to the power of small groups reimagining the world.

Air Jordan XIII 13 Kid

The Filmmakers

Matt Wolf Director

Matt Wolf’s feature documentaries include WILD COMBINATION about the cult cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, TEENAGE about early youth culture and the birth of teenagers, and RECORDER about the activist Marion Stokes, who recorded television 24 hours a day for 30 years. His short films include BAYARD & ME about the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, IT’S ME, HILARY about the Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight, and I REMEMBER about the artist Joe Brainard.

Stacey Reiss Producer

Stacey Reiss is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker who has produced narrative and documentaries films. She is the producer of THE PERFECTION, starring Allison Williams, which premiered on Netflix May 2019, and THE EAGLE HUNTRESS which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics. Other credits include TOKYO PROJECT, SUITED, THE DIPLOMAT, I KNEW IT WAS YOU, IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT and IT’S ME HILARY, all acquired by HBO. 

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2020

In 1991, eight capable men and women were sealed into Biosphere 2, an airtight terrarium in the Arizona desert containing a miniature replica of Earth’s environment. Funded by a Texas oil tycoon hoping to acquire licensable technologies for space colonization, the mission of Biosphere 2 was to maintain an isolated, sustainable environment for two years. It was a mission that became a dystopian simulation of ecological crisis, after which a corporate consultant took over the venture—and disappeared the data.

The investors designed Biosphere 2 to generate a lot of press, but little was revealed about the people who created it. Using archive material and present-day interviews with surviving Biospherians, director Matt Wolf brings us this spirited documentary that follows the gregarious and visionary countercultural collective over half of a century, as they conducted experiments around the globe leading up to Biosphere 2. If Spaceship Earth is a cautionary tale about the forces that threaten our planet, it is also an inspirational tribute to what a small creative group can achieve.

+ Festival Website

Reviews

One of the '39 essential films to see at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.'”

-Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

[A] lovely, engrossing documentary flashback… capturing the spirit of genuine idealism and earnest scientific inquiry.”

-Dennis Harvey, Variety

Sci-fi and the counterculture blend in an involving look at the people behind Biosphere 2… Fascinating as a case study in turning big ideas into reality.”

-John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter